Actually Pretty Awesome

Actually Pretty Awesome: Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas

The cheese and green chile tamale, with salsa verde.
The cheese and green chile tamale, with salsa verde. Photo: J. Barmann/Grub Street

Just ten days ago Alicia Villanueva launched her tamale cart, Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas, in Justin Herman Plaza near the Embarcadero. Not to be confused with The Tamale Lady, with her signature cooler, Alicia has been dreaming of her own business for years, and has been working with La Cocina’s incubator program for over a year working toward that dream. The tamales are delicious, with a masa that tastes rich despite not containing lard. But also Alicia is just a sweet, sunny, smiling woman and, as she says, she stuffs her tamales with love.

Our favorite is the ground chicken, stuffed with carrots, peas, zucchini, and potato, which is well seasoned but still thoroughly chicken-y. And we like the cheese and green chile tamale as well, which is better when slathered with salsa verde. Even better, they’re all three dollars apiece.

She also offers a beef tamale with red salsa, a pork tamale with chipotle salsa, and a veggie tamale with bell peppers and olives. Not all the varieties are available all the time. And for dessert, she’s also got a flan that Tasting Table says is “silken.”

Look for Alicia’s cart, just to the right of the craft fair as you approach the plaza from Market Street, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Earlier on Actually Pretty Awesome:
The Cocktails at Outerlands
The Meatball Gigante and the Honey Pie at Tony’s Pizza
Three New Gins from St. George Spirits
Duck Pastrami at Murray Circle
The Date Night at Sneaky’s BBQ
Crab and Dumplings at Pican
The Fried-Chicken Sliders at The Lookout
Uncle’s Chicken Curry Tacos at Juhu Beach Club
Buttermilk Panna Cotta at SPQR
The Egg Sandwich at Blue Fig
Lolo’s Mexican- and Turkish-Influenced Small Plates
The Tripe and the Pickles at Bar Tartine
A Dinner of Small Plates at Frances
The Fondue Service at Fondue Cowboy
Brunch at Barndiva
Fried Chicken and Cornmeal Doughnuts at Beast & the Hare
Aaron London’s Take on Vichyssoise at Ubuntu

Actually Pretty Awesome: Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas